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Ok, so these are all very noob questions. I've made a completely handwritten zine for a 24 hour zine project (completed in 12 hours) - would any zine distros stock it do you think, or would they be put off by the hand written-ess of it and the fact that it was completed in a relatively short amount of time?

Then, if I did get stocked how much should I charge- what sort of profit do zine distros expect to make? I'm in the UK and most zines seem to be about £1.50 - however my zine, being completely handwritten will have less content in than a 24 hour zine which is all typed etc. So basically, roughly what should whole sale and retail prices be?

Thanks for answering my completely nooby questions!

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Hi Hannah,
What price you choose is up to you. Ideally you want to cover your costs, while not putting people off with too high a price.
I wouldn't say that it being handwritten would lower the price, that's a taste / style thing rather than an expense!
As for distros, I'd have a look at what they already stock and perhaps target the ones that already sell ones similar to yours.
distros tend to do a 50/50 or 60/40 split with zinesters. if you sell a zine to a distro for, say, a dollar or $1.20 (or its british equivalent), they will sell it for $2. i wrote up an explanation of wholesale prices for my distro at http://www.papertraildistro.com/submit. warning: i was a bit cranky when i wrote it, due to suddenly getting all these zines with really excessive wholesale prices. if a zinester wants $2 per copy of her zine from me as a wholesale price, i have to mark it up to $3 or $4 to make money back on it (because of all the hidden costs of running distros--web hosting, mailing supplies, traveling to zine events, not to mention the hours & hours of tedious unpaid labor that are devoted to filling orders, standing in line at the post office, making website updates, etc). few people want to pay that much for ANY zine, but especially a 20-page quarter-sized zine, you know?

the thing to remember when setting a wholesale price is that any distro that takes it on is getting to be picking up a few copies at once, which makes postage a little cheaper for you & nets you a larger one-time chunk of money. it's cheaper to mail five or ten zines in a single package than to mail five or ten invidual zines to five or ten different addresses. so you are not necessarily looking to cover copying/postage costs PER COPY. the goal should be to set a price that more or less covers your copying costs & postage for a larger-than-average package. it's acceptable to set a slightly higher postage price for distros in countries other than the one where you live (though it's not necessarily common practice). in the states, for example, i have access to three-cents copies & i can mail a big package of zines anywhere in the country for $5. a 40-page quarter-sized zine, therefore, costs me 24 cents to copy & let's call it 50 cents to mail (in a package of ten copies). if i charge $1 wholesale, distros can sell it for $2, which is more than fair, & i can pocket the extra quarter per copy & put it toward buying new typewriter ribbons & mailing out free copies to friends, review places, etc. in this manner, i can break even on my zine while maintaining a fair price for everyone. (sorry this is all in american currency--i don't know what the british conversion is, & i know brits don't have flat-rate postage options like we do in the states, which makes things a touch pricier.)

also, as a distro person, i don't care if a zine is handwritten. that's just a personal preference issue. i don't tend to stock 24-hour zines because they tend to be very light on content compared to regular zines. i like the idea of a 24-hour zine, but i see them more as a fun challenge for a zinester, who then has something to give away to friends or send around as trades, or mine for future zines. but that's just me. i am notoriously choose about what i stock.
Thank you both for your thoughts. It was really interesting to hear what you said about pricing etc. ciaraxyerra - I had no idea about the kind of split that a distro would expect so your comment (and article) was really helpful. It was also a good reminder of the fact that I would be sending in bulk which I hadn't thought of.

Cheers guys, very helpful!


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